Israelis invent stink bomb for riot control

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The Independent Online

The ever-ingenious inventors at Israel's weapons research and development directorate have created a schoolboy's dream: the ultimate stink bomb, with a disgusting smell that lingers in its victim's clothing for up to five years.

The ever-ingenious inventors at Israel's weapons research and development directorate have created a schoolboy's dream: the ultimate stink bomb, with a disgusting smell that lingers in its victim's clothing for up to five years.

The foul-smelling liquid squirted by angry or frightened skunks at their victims was analysed by Israeli defence scientists and a synthetic version created for use in a weapon they call the "skunk bomb". Fired with great care, and from a respectable range, it is designed to force civilian protesters to disperse. Security forces would not be keen to arrest the victims, and they would be equally unwelcome at home.

When soldiers try to control crowds, or take action against guerrillas hiding in urban areas, there is a high risk of damage to property and people near by. Military weapons are designed to kill, and are often too powerful to use under these circumstances, as Israel Defence Forces have discovered in their clashes with Palestinian crowds. After years of using rubber bullets and tear gas, plus small arms, Israeli forces have been under pressure to create less-than-lethal weapons with which to target Palestinians. The skunk bomb is one example.

The Israelis have always been innovators of military technology. Their Merkova tank was designed with a rear compartment for carrying the bodies of their dead from the battlefield. But tanks can be sitting ducks to protesters, who can set fire to them. Israel Military Industries has developed tank shells that explode immediately after leaving the tank's barrel, deafening and terrifying but not seriously injuring bystanders.

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